Gravity's Rainbow begins with the sound of a rocket that blasts London near the end of the Second World War, and ends with the scene of a Los Angeles theater on which a rocket is falling in the middle of the Cold War. Rockets do not respect national borders. Gillian Beer explores how the advent of the technology of the aeroplane early in the twentieth century significantly affected the idea of the British nation. Although its emphasis is on Woolf, Beer's study includes insightful comments on other modernist writers as well. Gertrude Stein, for example, understood "the formal reordering of the earth when seen from the aeroplane–a reordering which does away with centrality and very largely with borders" (Beer 265). Moreover, Beer observes, the military use of the aeroplane unsettled the British idea of the nation as a "safe fortress" or "fortress-island" (266).
How to Cite: Nagano, Y . (2003) “The Formation of the Rocket-Nation: Abstract Systems in Gravity's Rainbow”, Pynchon Notes. doi: 10.16995/pn.54